Wood Carving for Beginners-A Beginner’s Guide

If you are interested in wood carving and want to know what you should do before starting the process, then you are in the right place. There are certain ways that you should follow.

Check out how to get started wood carving and then start your carving journey!

Definition of Wood Carving

Wood carving is a wonderful technique to create a lot of things by using wood. It is an ancient technique and it has been around the world for thousands of years.

Some incredible and oldest sculptures were found a long time ago. One of them is called Shigir Idol that was found in 1894 in Russia. In recent technology, there are some scientific testing methods.

And by using this method, they found out that this sculpture is around 11,500 years old. It is sculptured near the end of the last Ice Age.

There are multiple references to wood carving in the Bible. Those things were probably written around 5 BC. So, by seeing the references and examples, you can have an idea that wood carving was invented a very long time ago. And the techniques are still useful that people of modern time find interesting.

What are the styles of wood carving?

Relief Carving

Relief carving is the method that creates a sculpture with much texture and depth. It creates more like a three-dimensional sculpture with a flat back. This sculpture usually has a wall sculpture that you can easily hang on the wall.

Besides, if we talk about tools, U and V-shaped tools are often used for relief carving. This method is used to create organic and beautiful designs.

Relief carving is also defined in two ways such as ‘high relief’ and ‘low relief’. What types of relief are used on this sculpture depends on how much it is raised from the back portion.

This carving is done by hand and that’s why you need to have some hand tools like chisels, knives, and gouges. You can also paint relief carvings to look more interesting and beautiful.


Whittling is probably the oldest carving process of all. It is also called knife carving. It is because you just need a knife to do the carving. This process is completed just by using knife strokes. There are no sanding or smoothing processes included. You can call it a basic form of wood carving.

Besides, the V tool is also used in this method. This method is usually used to make wooden spoons. You can choose a suitable knife according to the carving process. There are several options you can choose from.

One option is to have a knife that has a fixed handle. On the other side, you can also use a folding knife if needed. This method will be suitable for beginners as it is the basic one and easy to do too. That’s why a newbie carver should practice this method first and then learn the further processes.

Chip Carving

Chip carving is a decorative carving. In this method, small chips are removed from a flat wood surface and make suitable patterns. To do this method, you can use chisels or knives.

Chip carving has two levels. One is the wood surface and the other is under the surface where the cuts meet. You need to get the idea of the levels to know from where to start and where to stop chipping.

If you are making a pattern, you can chip the wood freely or you can follow the geometric shape like straight lines, circles, triangles, curves, and more. Chip carving can create a good decorative piece as it looks amazing in its way.

Carving In The Round

Carving in the round also creates a 3D form of a sculpture. This carving makes a sculpture more lifelike and real than other carving techniques.

Besides, there are a lot of tools that you can use to do this carving. You can take carving knives, straight knives, various gouges, chisels, and a lot of other tools to carve in the round.

This type of sculpture can be left natural, painted, or stained, depending on the choice. As it has a create like a lifelike one, you need a lot of time and patience to do the finishing. The detailing should be done properly.

That’s why carvers need a lot of tools of different sizes and shapes. A wood burner is also used to give the sculpture fine texturing and detailing.

Tools of Wood Carving for Beginners

We are going to show you what the suitable tools for beginners are. When you are new to a job, you have to know what the basic tools are. According to that, you should start the practice. So, without any further delay, let’s move on to the description.

Wood Carving Knives and Carving Tools

Some carving tools are necessary for doing the wood carving properly. We highly recommend you to have a basic knife with a fixed handle.

Starting the process with this tool will be easy for you if you are a beginner. The other reason for recommending it is because it is safer than any other tool.

When you are getting some practice with that knife, we would then recommend you to have a beginner carving set. These kinds of sets are specially made for newbies. That’s why it would be perfect for you.

Sharpening Equipment

When it’s about sharpening, it would be better if you start the practice with a sanding stone. You will also need a 30-power jeweler’s loupe. It will help to see the bade in a close way. So, you can understand where the cut is needed and how deep it should be.

Safety Equipment

No matter if you are a professional or a beginner carver, you must keep some safety equipment to keep yourself protected from any kind of physical damage. You must have safety goggles and cut-resistant hand gloves. These two things can protect you from cutting your hands and eyes.

What is the best wood for carving?

If you want to be a professional and a good woodcarver then you need to use good quality wood for your sculpture. As you are going to create a sculpture, you must use proper wood because not all types of wood are suitable for your work.

There are several kinds of woods available out there. Such as butternut, basswood, balsa, and pine. These woods have the perfect surface texture to make any kind of sculpture and get a perfect outcome.

Also, walnuts and fruitwoods are good to create a nice sculpture. You just need to find the suitable one before starting the process.

Wood Carving Classes

Getting to know about wood carving by taking classes from an expert is a wonderful way to know the basics. If you are a beginner, you should take the classes rather than try them on your own.

The reason is, it might look easy but it will be tough if you have less knowledge about the whole technique. In the classes, you learn how to hold the tools and cut different types of woods and make a creative sculpture out of them.

Get schooling first before starting any carving. It will also make things easier for you if you are planning to start a carving business.

What are the wood Carving Projects for Beginners?

When it’s about beginners, there are multiple options out there to try. You can do any of those if you are also a beginner. To give you a basic idea, we bring a list of projects you can do. Let’s see what these are.


Making a project in a pattern is a good thing you can do. It is because it is easy and it helps to know the basics of wood carving. You can make customized things like drawers, shelves, boxes, and more. You can easily find celtric weaves that you can use to trace onto whatever sculpture you create.


Signs are a good way to practice carving well. Use hand-carved signs to create any customized stuff. You can also use U or V-shaped gouges. If you want to start a new business and want to create customized stuff as the customer wants, then following the techniques will make things easier for you, and you can make amazing stuff with it.


You can also carve out wood and make a lot of different kinds of spoons. As you are a newbie, making spoons will be easy and you can learn the basics from it.

You just need two or three carving knives to do the carving and make spoons. It will be a better idea if you buy wooden spoon blanks that you can find online. It will help you to focus on the shape of the carving and make it better than before.

Walking Stick

Walking sticks are a unique way to make some newly designed stuff. It helps to combine the knives and make any detailed designs easily. You don’t need to give much effort to it. But it can give you the best outcome.


Taking small figurines to create the same shape on your wood is a great way to make the process easier than before. It is a good way for beginners as you can have a model and all you need is to copy that shape in your way.

There are some small figurines like animals or other ones that you can create in your project. So, you can follow this trick too.

What Are The Safety Measures That You Must Follow While Wood Carving?

Just like any other profession, you also need some safety equipment no matter if you are a newbie or a professional. There is certain equipment that will help to keep your body protected.

When you carve wood, you do it by using different knives and other sharp tools. It can hurt your hand badly. That’s why you should always protect your hand by using safety gloves. Try to use a cut-resistant one to avoid any knife strokes.

Besides, use glasses or goggles to protect your eyes. There are many small chips of wood that come out while carving. Those small particles of chips can hurt your eyes. So, you must wear glasses or goggles for the safety of your eyes.

If possible, use ear protection too. Nothing is more important than your safety. That’s the reason you have to take precautions before doing any carving project.

Final Verdict

We are trying to give you the proper information that you need if you are planning to start a business of wood carving. It is a beginner-friendly article so check this out for getting the best and proper ideas of it.

Read this article about “how to get started wood carving?” and then make your decision. You will surely get the absolute information with details if you read it well.

Take your time and prepare yourself well before starting the process!

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